The Pelicans Did Exactly What They Needed To Do In The Anthony Davis Trade

Associate Editor
06.16.19

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The Anthony Davis trade is, barring something unforeseen, done. Davis saw his long-desired wish come true and will team up with LeBron James as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. It cost Los Angeles a pretty penny, as the team had to blow the New Orleans Pelicans away to make the deal come to fruition. In their eyes, though, it’s all worth it, because the second superstar they so coveted is now in Tinseltown.

For the Pelicans, they managed to get quite a haul back for someone who would have left the team in 12 months: Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, the No. 4 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft (which very well might end up getting moved), and additional selections in future drafts. With no Jayson Tatum on the table, you can argue this was the best return David Griffin and company could have gotten.

This is a bit of a weird deal in that the Pelicans did not get a star back for Davis. No one they acquired, you can argue, will ever be an All-Star. Ball, Hart, and Ingram are all nice, young players, and Ball and Ingram are young enough that they can still improve, but their games have holes that lead to legitimate concerns about whether they’ll live up to where they were selected in their respective drafts.

Here’s the thing: All of this is totally fine. Even forgetting the draft picks — which, as we learned on Saturday night, is objectively a stunning price the Lakers had to pay — the Pelicans decided to use Davis to acquire players who fill out their roster. As opposed to looking for a deal like the one the Spurs made in exchange for Kawhi Leonard that netted them DeMar DeRozan, who could help them stay in the playoff hunt, Griffin decided to build.

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